clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NCAA Bracketology: Does Duke or Virginia deserve the No. 1 seed?

New, 9 comments

Believe it or not, #UnbalancedSchedule might just play a role in this.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Not a lot of people would have been surprised if you told them that either Virginia or Duke would not make the ACC Tournament championship game. But to suggest that neither team would be there? Well, that's just unthinkable.

And then Virginia lost to North Carolina in the semifinals. And then Duke lost to Notre Dame in the semifinals.

And now here we all are. Virginia and Duke, both thought to be locked in for a No. 1 seed, are both left wondering whether either team would earn a one-seed. Virginia fans -- as they have been all season -- are more worried than Duke's.

So, we got in touch with SB Nation's resident bracketologist, Chris Dobbertean of Blogging the Bracket.

As of right this very second, Dobbertean has his four one-seeds as: Kentucky, Villanova, Duke, and Virginia. But that's far from locked up.

"Both the Blue Devils and Cavaliers took advantage of a deep ACC to rack up far more RPI top 25 wins than Wisconsin, especially on the road," Dobbertean said. "However, Wisconsin may pass the Cavaliers with a win tomorrow."

That would give Wisconsin both the regular season and conference title for the Big Ten.

"The Committee traditionally gives seeding bumps to teams that win both conference titles. The Badgers may get one, even though both Duke and Virginia have been more impressive win-wise."

The thinking has gone back and forth on whether Virginia or Duke was "more secure" in their one-seed, because that was largely an academic exercise if both teams had made the ACC Tournament championship. When both teams lost Friday night in the same round, it became clear that most people consider Duke to be the favored to get a one-seed, assuming not both teams would.

While Duke's best wins have been more impressive than Virginia's -- wins in Charlottesville and at Wisconsin -- their losses have been far from inspiring, dropping two to No. 11 Notre Dame, and then also losing to unranked Miami and NC State. Virginia's losses come to No. 2 Duke, No. 14 Louisville, and No. 19 North Carolina.

Dobbertean gives a few reasons why Duke leapfrogs Virginia here.

"It's the head-to-head wins, in part. A pair of games against teams in the RPI top 10 will really boost your RPI...this is how Buffalo is as high as it is. Plus, the unbalanced ACC schedule gave the Blue Devils one more opportunity against a team that ended up in the Top 25."

"Virginia's ACC slate and non-conference schedule, especially three of the games played in the Barclays event, are pushing the Cavaliers' RPI and SOS down. Duke got the benefit of a few more top 100 league games which is bolstering its computer numbers further."

Okay, but what about Villanova? Are they really that impressive given that they never even played a top-10 opponent, and their best win is just over No. 14 VCU?

"Like Wisconsin, Villanova might get a bump for winning the Big East double. I wouldn't discount the VCU win, not only because Virginia can claim one too, but also because when it happened, that looked to be a pretty big deal. Then Briante Weber got hurt and the Rams season appeared to go with it."

"However, the fact the Big East did so well as a whole in November and December allowed its teams to get higher in the RPI. Plus, Nova only played two teams from outside the top 200 all year, which the Committee will love, even if it takes a lot of luck to get such a result."

In less than 24 hours, we'll all know where Virginia will be headed. Whether it's a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed, the Cavaliers will have to find some answer for a recovering Justin Anderson -- whether that's simply not to play him the first weekend or some aggressive practice scrimmages before the opening tip.

Stay tuned to Streaking The Lawn to follow the Hoos on Selection Sunday, and head over to Blogging the Bracket for all your bracketology needs.